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SPRI Review 1999: Library and Information Service

Library and Information Service


Library Office: S. Sawtell, S. Banks, N. Egorova
Bibliographers: J. Pinhey, H. Shibata, I. Warren

A new service for the Library's many remote users was launched in February with the loading of SPRLIB Antarctica on the SPRI website []. SPRILIB Antarctica currently contains more than 33,000 records and provides comprehensive coverage of books and reports to 1996, and of all types of publication to 1961. The international journal Science has recommended its consultation by all with an interest in Antarctica.

Work has continued on the Historic Antarctic Bibliography Project, funded by the British Antarctic Survey. HABP has now moved on to the processing of the major bibliographies listing Antarctic publications, complementing those produced in the United States by J.H. Roscoe and the Library of Congress. The quantity of previously unlisted material rediscovered by HABP continues to surprise with, for example, more than 500 records identified from J. Denucé Bibliographie antarctique (Bruxelles, 1913), and more than 400 from R.D. Hayton National interests in Antarctica: an annotated bibliography (Washington, DC, 1960).

An all-day meeting of the East Anglia Online Users Group was organised by Oliver Merrington on 20 April. Attended by 23 librarians and information specialists, presentations were made by William Mills, Merrington, and Philippa Smith, with Robert Headland introducing a showing of Hurley's classic film South. Siobhan Carew described the work of the University's Committee for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies. Isabella Warren represented the Library at the Sixth Circumpolar Universities Co-operation Conference held by the University of Aberdeen, 24-27 June. On 9 September, the Library welcomed delegates from the Library Association Rare Books Group conference on scientific books. Mr Mills gave a brief overview of the Institute's excellent rare books collections, focusing particularly on expedition newspapers from the North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle (Parry 1819-20) to Little America Times (Byrd 1933-35). This provided opportunity for the rare books librarians to inspect some of the Institute's greatest treasures, including all four (not three) volumes of South Polar Times (Scott 1901-04 and 1910-13) and Aurora Australis (Shackleton 1907-09).

Acquisitions and cataloguing programmes

A total of 1957 items were added to the library, including 1090 books and other monographic material. During the year, the Russian collection was very significantly enhanced by the transference to the Institute from Darwin College of the Burgen Siberian Collection, originally collected by Lady Judith Burgen, and transferred here by kind permission of the Master and Sir Arnold Burgen. Thanks are also due to Dr Peter Friend, Librarian of Darwin, who mediated this transfer. The Russian collection also benefited from the continuing programme through which more recent publications are collected and sent back from the field by post-graduate students and staff. This year books were brought back from Russia by Otto Habeck and Indra Nobl-Overland. Laurent Letot has very kindly presented volume I of Recueil des Voyages au Nord (Amsterdam: Jean-Frederic Bernard, 1715). The Library already held volumes II and III of this important work, but volume I contains accounts of Iceland and Greenland and so is particularly appreciated.

By the end of the period covered, SPRILIB held 135,885 records, with 8873 records added during the year. 29,992 monograph records had been added to the Cambridge University Union Catalogue including 2180 new records this year.

Volunteers and work placements

Jed Brierley and Pat Little have continued their invaluable assistance to the RECON programme. Thanks very largely to their help, the Library is now close to creating SPRILIB records for all monographs. Apart from the Antarctic collection, record creation for which was funded by the British Antarctic Survey within the HABP programme, all RECON work has been carried out by volunteers, with final entries only being edited and indexed by the Librarian. Other valued contributions have been made by Ron Wilbraham (Honorary Map Curator) and Elizabeth Cunliffe. John Reid's card listing of Antarctic expeditions is now as comprehensive as is likely to be achievable for all Antarctic expeditions up to the Second World War, including those by whalers and sealers. A work placement was provided for Claudia Hermichen, student of librarianship at Hochschule fuer Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig (FH).